Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Kidney Stone Analysis
Kidney stone analysis is a test done on a kidney stone to see what chemicals are in it. The test is done on a kidney stone that has been passed in the urine or removed from the urinary tract during surgery. Chemical analysis of a kidney stone shows the type of stone which can guide treatment and give information that may prevent more stones from forming. People who have had a kidney stone have a chance of having another one, so prevention measures are important.
A kidney stone (renal calculus) forms in the kidney from substances that would normally pass out of the body in the urine. When there are large amounts of these substances, they separate from the urine and form kidney stones.
A kidney stone can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. Sometimes a stone may leave the kidney and move down a ureter into the bladder. From the bladder, the stone passes through the urethra and out of the body in urine. Passing a kidney stone through a ureter or the urethra may be painless or it may cause severe pain. A kidney stone may cause other symptoms, such as blood in the urine (hematuria), pain when urinating, or a severe need to urinate.
A kidney stone analysis is done to:
If you think you might have a kidney stone, talk to your doctor. He or she may have you collect the stone by straining your urine through a fine-mesh strainer or through fine gauze. Your doctor may give you a kidney stone strainer, or you may buy one from a drug store. Straining the first urine specimen of the morning is important, because a stone may pass into your bladder during the night.
Look carefully at the strainer for a kidney stone. It may look like a grain of sand or a small piece of gravel. Any stone you find should be kept dry—do not put it in fluid or urine. Put it in a cup with a lid or a plastic bag. Take it to the doctor's office or lab for analysis. Do not put tape on the kidney stone because it can change the test results.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form( What is a PDF document? ).
The kidney stone you take to the lab will be cleaned of any blood or tissue and then looked at to find what chemicals it is made of.
The most common way a kidney stone is collected for this test is by passing it in urine. Passing a stone may be painless or it may be very painful. The pain can begin suddenly and may come and go. A sand-sized stone may pass with little pain. A larger stone may cause a lot of pain in the lower back, groin, or genitals as it moves down the ureters or the urethra.
A small stone may pass without medical treatment. A large stone may need surgery or another type of procedure to get it out.
There is no chance for problems with kidney stone analysis. But a kidney stone can:
Kidney stone analysis is a test done on a kidney stone to see what chemicals are in it.
Knowing the type of kidney stone helps guide the best treatment choice. Your doctor will talk with you about treatment and prevention measures.
Putting tape on a kidney stone to keep it safe on the way to the lab may cause a problem with the test results.
Parmar MS (2004). Kidney stones. BMJ, 328(7453): 1420–1424.
Other Works Consulted
Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
Smith-Bindman R, et al. (2014). Ultrasonography versus computer tomography for suspected nephrolithiasis. New England Journal of Medicine, 371(12): 1100–1110. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1404446. Accessed November 17, 2014.
Current as of: October 31, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineChristopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology
Current as of:
October 31, 2018
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.